Maybe this mistake is nothing but my own. Coming into leading camps for 7-11 year olds to teach cooking and nutrition, I didn’t expect a ton of ability out of the kids, mostly because I didn’t learn to cook until my later teen years. I have continuously been shocked and impressed, not only by the kids’ ability to grasp difficult concepts, but their memory and intelligence, their budding personalities, and the rapidness of their ability to understand and perform tasks. So, I say we need to stop limiting the younger generation. When they have the boundaries that allow them to explore and push themselves, they exceed expectations time and time again. I quickly found that the future of this country and this world could be very bright with the up and coming generation, and we should encourage that. Let’s stop babying them and start pushing them even further. They can handle it.
“It takes a village.” Sure, it’s cliché, but it comes from very real sentiment. Parenting is important, and in my opinion could vastly improve in the United States, but the help from the community needs improvement as well. Parents don’t know everything to pass down, and in this economic environment may not always have the time to give their children all of that knowledge and guidance. Last semester, I did a research project on the literacy rates around Durham. One of the biggest themes I found was that literacy issues are generational. If parents can’t read, they can’t teach their kids to read. Another sentiment I found time and time again was that parents thought education was solely the job of the school system, and after long days of work they didn’t have the time nor the energy to further help their children in educational fields.
The cycle puts children at a disadvantage that is nearly impossible to overcome. Passed over and ignored in overcrowded schools, the cycle often continues, and the community stands idly by and watches it happen. We don’t push today’s youth, and then we blame them for not having the ability of the kids who are blessed with parents and teachers who push them. Let’s push all of our youth, and rather than being shocked by their abilities, let’s expect them to accomplish great things. The preteens I’m working with are making complex delicious meals, and understanding the history and culture of said food with ease. They are able to do much more than we think, we just need to open the doors to allow the greatness to come out. It’s there, and it just needs our coaxing.